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Boost for Leinster as Cullen and Lancaster re-sign with European champions

Leinster CEO Mick Dawson said it was a ‘no-brainer’ to retain the services of their head coach and senior coach.

LEINSTER HAVE BEEN handed a major boost heading into the business end of the season with the news both Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster have re-signed with the province. 

Head coach Cullen has overseen Leinster’s return to the summit of European rugby since taking over the role at the start of the 2015/16 season, and will remain in charge for a further two years until the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster Cullen and Lancaster have formed an excellent working relationship. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Lancaster, meanwhile, has ended speculation over his immediate future by renewing terms with Leinster to remain in his position as the province’s senior coach, despite links to a role on Andy Farrell’s Ireland coaching staff after the World Cup.

Retaining the services of Lancaster, who has played an integral role in Leinster’s success in recent seasons, is a major fillip for the defending European and Pro14 champions amid continued interest in the 49-year-old’s signature. 

Leinster have not confirmed the duration of Lancaster’s new contract with the club. 

“Everyone can see that we have benefited from Stuart’s vast experience working within the academy system in England plus of course his time with the English national team,” Leinster CEO Mick Dawson said.

“He has consistently shown his commitment to the Leinster cause and it is a real boost to retain the services of a world-class coach.”

Lancaster, who is in his third season at Leinster, has been linked with a number of vacancies at English Premiership clubs in recent times, while speculation intensified over his future when Farrell was appointed as Joe Schmidt’s successor last November.

But Leinster’s ability to retain his services is an indication of how settled he is with the eastern province, but also his belief and vision in the club as they bid to retain their Champions Cup and Pro14 crowns this term. 

Cullen and Lancaster have worked brilliantly in tandem alongside forwards coach John Fogarty, Felipe Contepomi and Hugh Hogan, guiding Leinster to a fourth European title in Bilbao last May. 

On Cullen’s two-year deal, Dawson added: “Leo’s skills as a player and as a captain have been well celebrated over the years and rightly so.

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“Over the last four seasons he has continued to build on that legacy and has added considerable coaching credentials to his list of achievements.

Stuart Lancaster Lancaster has put pen-to-paper on a new deal. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Not only did Leo oversee the great double success of last season, he also oversaw the rebuilding of the playing squad after a number of high profile retirements and the recruitment of the new coaching team.

“We have seen the impact Leo has had on the organisation both on and off the field and we are thrilled to see him commit for a further two seasons with the club.

“That level of continuity is crucial for the model that we have here at the club, a model that Leo not only believes in but is a product of.

“In his four seasons, he has capped 43 new players with the majority of them coming from the 12 counties of Leinster.

“This season he has capped eight players from our Academy in the 54 players used across the Guinness Pro14 and the Heineken Champions Cup.

“This is an important announcement for the club and we are delighted to have our business done ahead of a crucial block of games for Leo, his staff and the players.”

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey on The42 Rugby Weekly as Ireland bid to spoil Wales’ Grand Slam party in Cardiff, and the U20s target their own piece of history.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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